Home of Wasabi Air Racing

Elliot Seguin and Jenn Whaley's Formula One class air race team based out of Mojave, California. Pylon racing at the National Championship Air Races in Reno Nevada. Eight airplanes racing head to head around telephone poles in the desert. Mojave is the best place on the planet to build and modify a race plane, and Wasabi is lucky to have the best support in the business.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tomorrows record attempt

Hey Guys,

Tomorrow Justin Gillen, Jenn Whaley, Rick Poe and I are leaving for Stead to attend the 2015 Pylon Racing Seminar (rookie school).  We are flying two bad ass airplanes up (Tangotimemachine and the GT400), and attempting to set two records while we are at it (point to point, MHV to RTS, C1b/C1c).

I can't decide what I am more pumped about, that two good friends who have helped Jenn and I make Wasabi what it is are going to get their race tickets, or that we have an opportunity to get Ralph Wise and his GT-400 in the record books.  Either way it is going to be awesome and I am pumped.

Attached are some pictures of some of the preparation building up to these attempts.

You can follow along on tomorrows flight on our spot page (link).  We plan to launch after lunch (1:30 PST).

Wish us luck!!

Airplanes are cool,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tyson's Moventure Photos

Tyson Rininger's photo's of the Mojave to Oshkosh non-stop group.  So freaking awesome!!

Full Gallery Here

HOTAS Stop Watch

Hey Guys,

Justin and I have been doing a lot of testing recently that involves timing a vehicle.  We typically rely on radio to transmit data like this but lately we have been having terrible luck with radios and other people on mission frequencies.

Using a wristwatch to time something in a cockpit is silly.  Whether you do it using no hands and memorizing the time when you started and then doing the math at the end or you use your non-watch hand to start and stop the timer you end up using a lot of valuable cockpit resources.  Also for me it always seems like my glove or sleeve are blocking the view of the watch.  So I started looking around for a panel mounted timer with a remote trigger switch so that I could be fully HOTAS during the high workload low level test points that were the primary concern.

I found three HOTAS solutions before we settled on the Sport Count.

First the Cadillac solution.  There are a lot of really awesome vehicle based timing systems for the motorsport industry.  One that impressed me was the GET series of products (Athena GET).  These are GPS based timers so after some setup work the timer will work on it's own calculating the times based on position hacks from GPS and user defined track points.  Unfortunately the price reflects the awesome, th MD-60 is $360 on Amazon (link).

The second solution is a personal favorite and is not GPS based, the DRC SP-1.  It's a split capable timer with a remote trigger switch for handlebar mounting (link), $68 on Amazon.  This was what we were going to use until we found the Sport Count.  
DRC SP-1 Handlebar Mounted Timer with remote trigger

Lastly the DIY solution.  Based on this Instructables (Laser Sensor Timer) one could mount a timer on the panel and wire a remote trigger switch that could be mounted on the stick.  Since the only cost would be the timer, the wire, and the switch, you could build this solution for less than $30.  At the time we couldn't afford the schedule or the risk associated with this solution.

DIY Solution from Instructables 
The Sport Count finger mounted stopwatch, we use the yellow which is selling on Amazon for $29 (link).  This product was designed to be used for athletes, specifically swimmers, to time themselves while working out.  As a result it is compact and simple, with a very clean interface.  The strap is adjustable and I have used it with and without gloves.

Sport Count Finger Mounted Timer
We used the Sport Count for all the time to climb testing for the Aerochia record runs at the Mojave Experimental Flyin.  Though I consistently checked to make sure the timer had started or stopped when commanded I never had a switch miss fire with a gloved or bare hand.

Go work on your airplane!!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

May Sport Av

Article here (link)

Hey Guys,

I hope you have a chance to check out the May Sport Aviation (link).  James Wynbrandt and Tyson Rininger really did a knock out job with this article about our non-stop formation flight to Oshkosh 2014 (link).  The pilots and crew for the 7 aircraft involved were (Justin Gillen, Jenn Whaley, Zach Reeder, Niki Dugue, Rebecca Pontius, Doug Dodson, Dustin Riggs, Brianne Terrell, Brandon Cangiano, and Ben Harvey). 

Thank you to EAA, Sport Aviation and Mac McClellan for the honor and the privilege, such a great day.

And thank you to our friends that made that trip possible;
Justin Gillen, Rick Poe, Susan Fine, Donald McMullin, Craig Catto, Robbie Grove, Whitney Brown Kelsey Moran, Thomas Wilson, Ralph Wise, Dave Ronneberg, Ben Harvey, Paul Dye, Richard VanderMeulen, Eric Stewart, MGL Avionics, Mojave Air and Spaceport, Spot Tracker, E-Mag, and Whirlwind Propellers.

Thanks again,
Elliot and Jenn

Elliot, Jenn, and Justin, Photo: Tyson Rininger (link)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Siren Glider

Thank you to Jeromy Robbins for drawing up these chuck gliders for the upcoming Aviation Slumber Party and Indoor RC/Rubberband Funfly.

Register for the event here (link)

Monday, March 30, 2015

SETP Pics!!

#petesaiddontcuss #wedidntcuss #setp talk complete #aerochia #flighttest

A photo posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

#wasabiairracing #aerochia #setp #getyourheadright #gameface

A photo posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

Friday, March 13, 2015

Flybaby Position Error Update 3-9-15

Hey Guys,

So the position error that was observed on the 2-22-15 flight has become a bit of a science experiment, and like most science experiments it has begun a fascinating and hard spiral.

Chris Higbee drilled three more sets of holes in the probe to make it symmetric.  Interestingly the error is now symmetric as well, but there is still a beta based static error.

In-flight video and report below.

Go work on your airplane!!


A video posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

Monday, February 23, 2015

Flybaby Position Error

Hey Guys,

We did a really interesting program over the weekend, and it started as so many of the best things do, with a conversation over lunch.

Chris Higbee, Jenn and I were eating and talking about cool wooden airplanes with franklin engines, and it was observed that the Flybaby has an uncoventional static port.  The airplane is equipped with a typical twin boom pitot static probe.  One boom is total pressure with the hole in the center and the other is the static with the hole drilled in the side.  The weird thing is the probe's static holes are only on one side of the probe.  This led to the obvious question, does beta effect the airplanes natural position error.  The result is the video, shot in flight, that is so textbook it makes it hard to believe it didn't happen in a lab.

A video posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on
What you see in the video is the airplane is flying straight and level at 60 MIAS and 4,000 feet. The pilot applies left rudder displacing the ball to the right and showing the asymmetrical static probe to more of the ram pressure that the total pressure side of the probe is seeing.  The result is less delta P for the airspeed indicator to compare and therefore an artificially low airspeed by ten MPH.  You also can see the altitude indicate low by about 50 feet.  Then the pilot applies right rudder displacing the ball to the left, blocking the static probe which makes the airspeed read artificially high by ten MPH and the altimeter read artificially high by about 50 feet.

There are pictures of the probe and the test report below.

Go work on your airplane!!

Elliot and Jenn

Monday, February 16, 2015

SETP San Diego

Hey Guys,

There is still time to reserve your spot at the SETP West Coast Symposia (link).

Justin Gillen and I will be speaking about the test work we did fir Aerochia on N62MH, N357AW and N23LF during the build up to Reno 2014.

Justin and I are extremely flattered to have been chosen to speak to this prestigious group and look forward to the opportunity to learn more about testing badass aircraft.

Go work on your airplane!
Elliot and Jenn

Title:  Wastegate Development For A Sport Class Pylon Race Aircraft.

Abstract:  During 2014 Aero Chia performance aircraft changed the pneumatic wastegate provided with their Super Lancair Legacy line of race aircraft.  The TSIO-550-C is rated to 300 horsepower, we believe the engine was making over 650 horsepower when the propeller failed in a heat race at Reno 2014.  The build up to that power setting took place over three airframes, and failed 4 turbos.  These are some of the lessons learned from that testing.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Connor Madison's patch jacket

Check out the beginnings of Connor Madison's patch jacket.

We still have patches available, send a SASE to PO Box 131 Mojave CA 93502.

Rick Solo's a Tailwind

Hey Guys,

There is something right in the world when Rick flies a Tailwind, solo, for the first time.

What a fun summer this will be, and what a pretty airplane.

Congrats Rick, and Congrats Susan!

Elliot and Jenn

Sundays With Ralph Episode 5

Hey Guys,

Below is the report for FLT005 in the GT-400 "Snort".

It was a great flight.  Mojave Experimental Flyin is coming up and everybody is talking about records, so we used it as an excuse to get some performance data on Snort.  The result was 1.87 ft^2 effective flat plate area.

We also used this opportunity to further qualify an approach we use on Wasabi.  So by measuring manifold pressure (MAP) and the speed of the engine (RPM) we know the horsepower that a stock 520 would make in that configuration.  The issue is we don't know the efficiency of the propeller, and we don't know how strong the engine is.  The solution, as Andy would say is "more data!".

In order to get more data points to backup the assumption that Continental is accurate with their power estimates we use the dive method (see Hoot's report link).  If you know the weight of the airplane, you can derive the thrust given by a dive.  You already know how much power Continental thinks you should be making.  So by summing the two you know how much HP it took to go that fast.

Example:  The GT-400 weighed roughly 2400 pounds, so with a 500 FPM descent you are getting energy from gravity at a rate of 36 HP.  Add 36 HP to the 165 HP the engine was making and you get 201 HP.  Experimentally we found this correlated to a indicated airspeed of 250 MPH.  250 MPH correlates to a dynamic pressure of about 160 pounds per square foot.  206 HP at 250 MPH correlates to 302 lbs of thrust.  So 302 divided by 160 is 1.88 square feet of equivalent drag.

This is a little harder with Snort because the airplane is naturally aspirated and we try to keep the flights to about an hour.  Without automatic boost regulation the MAP (and therefore power) changes with altitude, and at -2000 feet per minute the altitude is changing pretty fast.  There are two options for this you can time your flying just right so that you pass through a particular altitude at the moment you are on condition.  Or you can take note of your altitude and MAP when you get stabilized and look up the HP for each pass individually.  We did the latter.

The plot below is the summary of the data.  The cluster is pretty tight, which almost makes me believe the data!!

Airplanes are cool,

3 things worth noting:
1.  We made no attempt to compensate for the loss of thrust from the propeller.  Typically assumed to be 90% efficient, this makes our findings somewhat conservative.

2.  The reason this is a more difficult test with Wasabi is the Continental reference material does not typically go to the engine RPM that we are running, which requires making assumptions.

3.  Below is a picture of the panel on Snort.  Note on the Manifold pressure gauge (top right) that ~1/8" = 1 INHG.  This resolution is a little coarser than I would like for this kind of testing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plane Crazy After Action Report

Cathy Hansen posted her after action report on the January Mojave Plane Crazy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bjorn Schipper's patch collection

Thank you Bjorn for the photo!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Instagram Photos from the weekend

A video posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

A photo posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

A video posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

Sundays with Ralph episode 4

Hey Guys,

Ralph and I had a great time on Sunday, we are trying out different arrivals to the airport to get ready to land at a different airport for the first time.  We are also still investigating the "poor centering" experienced on flight two.  We have not been able to replicate it yet.

Check out this great GT-400 detail below.  This is the spring loaded gap seal on the bottom of the wing.  Such a cool airplane!!

Airplanes are cool,

Spring loaded gap seal on the flap of the GT-400

Oil Flows / Klaus is awesome!

Hey Guys,

I assume everyone has seen it already, but just in case.  You need to check out Lynne Wainfan's article on Klaus Savier and the Determinator (December Experimenter).  Prepare to have your mind melted.

Anyway in the article Lynne describes Klaus' secret recipe for oil based flow visualization.

"...special dark colored oil is put on the airplane before flight.  After landing the oil tracks show where the air was, or was not.  Klaus has a finely tuned mixture for his oil: He starts with carbon black, the fine powder that is added to paint to make it black.  Carbon black is available on the Internet and in paint shops.  To this, he adds motor oil which is viscous - a handy trait that helps it not fall off the airplane.  Then Klaus reduces the mixture with diesel fuel or kerosene, but this combination has too much surface tension.  To counteract that problem he adds a lot of dish soap...One begins to understand exactly how obsessive engineers are about visuaizing airflow.  (I have found that the dishsoap has made the carbon black cleanup a breeze)."

I was really impressed by the combination of Lynne's engaged and researched writing and Klaus' willingness to share.  I ended up all pumped up about the topic, luckily with Justin Gillen doing all this Cassutt flying to get up to speed for PRS it seemed an opportunity we were missing.  So we ended up getting out the oil again and doing some visualization work.  Below are some pictures of what we found.  Yes we are intentionally leaving out the most interesting pictures :).

Elliot and Jenn

Tangotimemachine separation at cooling exhaust

Tangotimemachine separation at cooling exhaust, opposite side

Miss Demeanor cowling above inlet

Miss Demeanor belly cooling exhaust 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Plane Crazy Article

Hey Guys,

We had a great time speaking at Plane Crazy on Saturday, and we were flattered so many great people were interested in listening.

Below is an article Allison Gatlin ran in Tuesday's AV Press, thank you Cathy Hansen for scanning it for us.  Thank you Allison for the support.


Page 2 top
Page 2 Bottom

Red and Marilyn Hamilton in Mojave

Hey Guys,

Red and Marilyn were at MHV recently to help a friend move an airplane.

Always worth taking another look at that Tailwind, oh man!!

Airplanes are cool,
Elliot and Jenn

Sundays with Ralph Episode 2+3

Hey Guys,

Below are the test reports from flight 2 and 3 with the legendary Ralph Wise in the GT-400.  There are good days and there are really good days.

The GT is a complicated and eccentric one off aircraft that has until very recently only ever been operated by one man, Ralph.  The result has been a fascinating study of Ralph, of Navy procedures, of the airplane, and of myself.

I hope these reports are interesting, as the flying certainly was.

Airplanes are cool,

A video posted by edseguin (@edseguin) on

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Patch offering

Hey Guys, 

Wasabi had a great year of testing, racing, and record setting and we want to share. Send us an envelope and we will send you a patch. If you insist the patches are valued at $5, any donations will be spent on avgas testing airplanes!! While supplies last. If you want a specific patch write which one you are interested in on the envelope, and we will do our best.

PO Box 131
Mojave CA


Thank you,

Dragon:  This is the mission patch for N357AW, the most recent Aerochia Super Legacy.  Wasabi was tasked with getting the airplane airworthy and doing the phase one test program.  The names on the top of the patch are the four core members of the team, Andy Chiavetta, Justin Gillen, Elliot Seguin, and Jon Hadlich.  The center of the patch is a dragon.  The dragon was a south pacific style kite that was donated to ward off the gremlins that seemed to be haunting the program.  The patch was designed by Michael Lizama (@BTMichael).

Race 44: This is the mission patch for Lynn Farnworth's race 44 build up and participation at Reno 2014.  The patch is Mowgli (Andy) juggling so many difficult problems.  This program was aggressive before the gremlins started to plague the airplane.  The result was a couple turbo failures (the snails) and Lynn's impressive dead stick during a heat race at Reno.  The names in the center of the patch are the core members of that team Andy Chiavetta, Elliot Seguin, and Justin Gillen. The patch was designed by Michael Lizama (@BTMichael).

Darth Vader:  This is the mission patch for Wasabi's 2014 season.  This was a very busy year for Wasabi, we cut the gear off the airplane, tested an exciting new Catto propeller, increased our gross weight by 20%, and flew non-stop to Oshkosh for the airplane's EAA debut.  The most important was we consistently went faster and finished better than we ever had.  The patch was designed by Michael Lizama (@BTMichael).

Sunrise: This is the mission patch for the Mojave to Oshkosh non-stop formation flight and associated testing and formation practice.  The patch shows a formation of exotic aircraft flying in formation towards the rising sun while other folks are still still catching a few last Zs.  The aircraft on the patch include, Dustin Riggs flying Dick Rutan's Ol' Blue, Doug Dodson flying his Glassair II, Zach Reeder flying the Rutan Catbird, Elliot Seguin flying Wasabi, Justin Gillen flying the Tangotimemachine, and Brandon Cangiano flying Polaire his Lancair Legacy.  
The patch was designed by Whitney Brown, http://whitneyjbrown.com/.